Maclean's builds a cutting-room cabinet for Trudeau

There's plenty of talent Justin Trudeau didn't have enough room for in his cabinet. So we assembled a fantasy team from these other MPs.


Liberal Adam Vaughan celebrates his by-election win in the Trinity-Spadina riding with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto on Monday June 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Liberal Adam Vaughan celebrates his by-election win in the Trinity-Spadina riding with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto on Monday June 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

In composing his 31-member cabinet, Justin Trudeau left a lot on the cutting-room floor. Plenty of provincial cabinet experience, caucus veterans and promising newcomers.

Related: An annotated get-to-know-you of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet

In fact, there’s so much unused talent that Maclean’s composed a ministry entirely of excluded MPs. You can politely call them Justin’s Second Stringers, or less charitably the Cabinet of Misfit Toys. While I prefer the Not-Ready-for-Front-Bench Players, colleague John Geddes offered up the Salon des Refusés.

It’s a list that covers nearly all provinces (except Saskatchewan, home to one MP). Care was given to achieve 50-50 gender balance and cultural diversity, and two Rhodes Scholars for good measure.

So if by some bizarre calamity Justin Trudeau loses his entire cabinet (surely, you all recall the premise of that hi-lar-i-ous 1991 film King Ralph), Canada could be reasonably served by this crop of backbenchers.

In the order of precedence, to match Trudeau’s list:

Adam Vaughan (Spadina–Fort York, Ont.) — Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. A veteran Toronto city councillor who sat on the Toronto Police Services Board. As someone who pushed for an inquiry after the G20 protests and arrests, he would have provided a signal Trudeau cares about civil liberties and is seeking a new direction.

Mark Eyking (Sydney–Victoria, N.S.) — Agriculture and Agri-food. A six-term MP and vegetable farmer, he was named parliamentary secretary for agriculture and emerging markets in the Martin government. For the last four years, he was the Liberals’ agriculture critic.

Judy Sgro (Humber River–Black Creek, Ont.) — Foreign Affairs. A parliamentarian since 1999, and immigration minister for Paul Martin.

Andrew Leslie. (Graham Hughes/CP)

Andrew Leslie. (Graham Hughes/CP)

Andrew Leslie (Orléans, Ont.) — Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees. A retired lieutentant-general to lead the logistical mission impossible of bringing in 25,000 refugees by year’s end.

Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West–Nepean, Ont.) — Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Applying to Canada her human rights and development experience in Kosovo, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Emmanuel Dubourg (Bourassa, Que.) — President of the Treasury Board. A Haiti-born chartered professional accountant and  federal public servant, Dubourg was elected twice to Quebec’s National Assembly before he won a federal by-election in 2013.

Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré–Mercier, Que.) — Government House Leader. Back for his fourth term as MP, Rodriguez co-chaired the Quebec campaign, the Liberals’ most successful since Justin Trudeau last lived at 24 Sussex.

Celina Caesar-Chavennes (Whitby, Ont.) — Innovation, Science and Economic Development. An award-winning entrepreneur and research consultant with an M.B.A.

Joyce Murray.

Joyce Murray.

Joyce Murray (Vancouver–Quadra, B.C.) — Finance. Murray, the former B.C. environment minister and third-term MP, would have become Canada’s first female budget author. She placed second to Trudeau for the Liberal leadership.

Arif Virani (Parkdale–High Park, Ont.) — Justice and Attorney General. The former Ugandan refugee’s legal career includes prosecuting genocide cases at the United Nations International Criminal Tribune for Rwanda, as well as work on the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Leona Alleslev (Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill, Ont.) — Public Service and Procurement. An operations manager at Bombardier Aerospace, Alleslev also has a background in military contract administration and eco-tourism.

Francois-Philippe Champagne (Saint-Maurice-Champlain, Que.) — International Trade. A lawyer who was been an executive with multinational firms AMEC and ABB. The World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader.

Alexandra Mendes (Brossard–Saint Lambert, Que.) — Health. A former immigrant settlement worker returning after one term as MP, and former president of the Liberals’ Quebec wing.

Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre, Alta.) — Families, Children and Social Development. A bilingual, openly gay Rhodes Scholar. In other words, he’s a modern Albertan. The university lecturer and management consultant co-founded the charity Literacy without Borders.

Peter Fonseca (Mississauga–East Cooksville, Ont.) — Transport. Ontario’s former minister of labour, tourism and recreation.

Ruby Sahota (Brampton North, Ont.) — International Development. Experience in criminal law and commercial litigation, as well as with UNICEF and the Organization for Women in Trade.

Jonathan Wilkinson (North Vancouver, B.C.) — Natural Resources. He went from leading the Saskatchewan NDP youth wing to Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. A constitutional negotiator for the Charlottetown accord, then CEO for green technology firms, and worked as a manager Bain and Company — the restructuring firm that Mitt Romney founded.

Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, B.C.) — Heritage. Elected twice as mayor of West Vancouver.

Lloyd Longfield (Guelph, Ont.) — National Revenue. President of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and founding director of an innovation agency.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette. (Photograph by John Woods)

Robert-Falcon Ouellette. (Photograph by John Woods)

Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre, Man.) — Veterans Affairs. He served 15 years in medical and combat units of the Canadian Forces, and is a director of Aboriginal focus programs at the University of Manitoba.

Yvonne Jones (Labrador, N.L.) — Environment and Climate Change. The former Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries minister and Official Opposition leader, Jones defeated Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue in a 2013 by-election. She represents a riding vulnerable to rising ocean levels.

Karen McCrimmon (Kanata–Carleton, Ont.) — National Defence. The first woman to command a Canadian Forces flying squadron, and would have been the first woman as defence minister since Kim Campbell.

Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest, Ont.) — Employment Workforce Development and Labour. As Toronto’s police chief, he oversaw an organization of about 7,700 employees.

Linda Lapointe (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Que.) — Infrastructure and Communities and La Francophonie. An MNA for the Action démocratique du Québec and representative on several business associations.

Michael McLeod (Northwest Territories, N.W.T.) — Democratic Institutions. A Northwest Territories legislator for 12 years, and his brother is the current premier. Most recently, he was a government tourism development officer.

Filomena Tassi (Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, Ont.) — Sport and Persons with Disabilities. A former lawyer and school trustee, she represents a large city that has lacked cabinet representation since the Conservatives took over in 2006.

Robert Morrissey (Egmont, P.E.I.) — Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard. A former P.E.I. cabinet minister, he defeated Gail Shea, the Conservatives’ minister of fisheries.

Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, B.C.) — Science. An MP since 1993, and a one-time junior minister. A former doctor.

Ginette Petitpas-Taylor (Moncton–Riverview–Dieppe, N.B.) — Status of Women. A past chair of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and an RCMP coordinator of victim services.

Brenda Shanahan (Châteaugay–Lacolle, Que.) — Small business and tourism. An independent investment advisor and speaker on financial literacy with an M.B.A.

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